Environmentalists ask to cancel sea lion aquarium in Veracruz; Laws will be respected, says Government

Jerónimo Sánchez, General Director of Animal Heroes, assured that a true preservation project, as the authorities say, would be the development of a reintegration plan. With this measure, he stated, the Government of Veracruz is only creating new problems.

The Government of the state of Veracruz, headed by the Morenista Cuitláhuac García Jiménez, promotes animal exploitation by building a special area for sea lions shows in the Puerto Aquarium for people’s enjoyment, associations in favor of animal rights denounced.

Jerónimo Sánchez, General Director of Animal Heroes, assured in an interview with SinEmbargo that the construction of the “lobarium” is a whim of the Government of Veracruz and that it goes against what society demands.

“There is no justification for keeping animals locked up and the Government of Veracruz goes to something that is anachronistic, that is already old, that is no longer what society is demanding and that apparently is a mere whim of the authorities, “The animals are in another perspective for the government, but it also goes against what society is already demanding.”

The Aquarium of the Port of Veracruz, previously known as the Veracruz Aquarium, was placed in charge of the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office on May 16, 2022 after the issuance of the decree that extinguished the Public Administration Trust.

With the aim of attracting a greater number of visitors and turning the Aquarium of the Port of Veracruz into a point of reference, in January of this year, the state government announced the expansion and modernization work of the property. Sergio Rodríguez Cortés, head of the State Environmental Protection Agency (PMA), confirmed that the works include a new area for sea lions and the implementation of technology, with the aim of making the tours more attractive.

Months later, in August, Rodríguez Cortés unveiled the first stone with which the work of the first stage of the expansion of the Aquarium of the Port of Veracruz began.

The official indicated that this first stage of the project has a budget of 119 million pesos for carrying out various works inside the Aquarium, among which the construction of the so-called lobarium stands out.

During the ceremony it was indicated that this new space will be dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of California sea lions, where visitors will be able to learn about the life of this endemic species of the Pacific Ocean and that in due course it will have two pairs of the mammals.

According to the authorities, the works will improve the operation of the facility and the reception of tourists in facilities evaluated and authorized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. It is estimated that the work will be completed in March 2024.

Contrary to what the authorities claim, Jerónimo Sánchez indicated that the construction of space does not have scientific or research purposes, but on the contrary, it seeks to offer shows with trained animals.

“They are building an amphitheater, so to speak, where what they are going to do is offer shows, those sea lions are going to be trained to do completely unnatural things, for the enjoyment of people, believing that they are helping the animals.” when in reality what they do is promote this animal exploitation. It is not for any purpose of reintegration, not for any educational purpose, it is not for any biological purpose, it is for the purpose of animal exploitation at the expense of fun.”

Jerónimo Sánchez assured that a true preservation project, as the authorities say, would be the development of a reintegration plan. With this measure, he stated, the Government of Veracruz is only creating new problems.

“They should reconsider, please back off this project, stop it and really, if they want to do something for the animals, make a real reintegration plan or increase the animal rescue and relocation budget. There are many local associations in Veracruz working that face of these problems every day without any support and the Government, instead of solving problems, is creating new problems.”

The director of Animal Heroes indicated that it is necessary for the Government of Veracruz to release a report detailing what the project consists of, what role the sea lions will have in the enclosure. He said that if not done, the message that would be sent would be to promote animal trade and exploitation.

“What we would like to know is that report for educational purposes, to really know what they are going to do and if there is going to be a show with sea lions where those sea lions are going to be required or trained to do unnatural acts.” If there is no occupation and reintegration plan, what we understand is that it is pure animal exploitation. If they have a management plan, we would love to know about it, to know exactly what the people who attend that show are going to learn, to know exactly what they are going to learn because everything that involves buying animals is promoting the animal exploitation and trade, legal and illegal animal trafficking, which is one of the great causes of the ecological damage we are doing to Mexico and the planet in general.”

California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are a protected species in accordance with the Official Mexican Standard NOM-059 ECOL1994. It is considered a “sentinel” in the Protected Natural Areas of the Sea of Cortez, as it is an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Despite the regulations, some sea lions continue to be used for shows in various aquariums throughout the country.

“Well, there are a lot of ambiguities in that part of the law. We are in fact working on a campaign that we have been running for several years called “Wild animals are not pets” which has already been approved in the Chamber of Deputies. This bill is going to prohibit having big cats in residential homes and we are working, well, to make this happen, so that the animals are not really extracted from their habitat or that they are not objects of commercialization as mere things, a large part of “Society still considers animals as if they were property, a chair or a table.”

Jerónimo Sánchez said that instead of worrying about the construction of a lobarium, the Government of Veracruz has more important things to focus its attention on, such as the issue of violence that afflicts the state.

“There are many other very important issues to do in Veracruz, it is a state that has many social and violence problems. What we want is to give atole with the finger with a lobario that only serves to entertain a certain sector of society that does not have that empathy or that animal consciousness, that is what we are going to work on telling people “They are good people going to a show where there are animals locked up, that it is not a good person to enjoy animal exploitation and that they should not participate in this event.”

Finally, Jerónimo Sánchez called on the Government of Veracruz to reconsider his position on the construction of the lobarium and to introspect on the message he seeks to give to society with this project.

“Well, what we ask from Animal Heroes is that you reconsider this project, that you really evaluate if it is what Veracruz needs, if it is the message that you want to give to the citizens of Veracruz, because enjoying animal exploitation is not good for anyone. “, neither for animals, nor for society.”

Source: Sin Embargo